Slateholm Nights

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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:09 pm

Have you considered the age of the city and current population size?
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orobouros
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:11 pm

A system of tunnels and caves and such under the city would probably be used at least partially as a sewage system. I'd expect that some enterprising merchant with capital would have hired the right Dwarfs to reconfigure the first few hundreds of feet of the tunnels into a wastewater disposal system. What's beyond the flimsy wooden planks they used to seal off the unknown might be a good hook for an adventure.

Likewise, even with the relatively independent nature of the city, there's probably a market for either modestly illegal or distasteful activities and wares. Any kind of tunnels beneath the Merchant's area would probably have their share of smugglers' operations going on.

Depending on how much room is there, you could put some variant of monsters in such catacombs, perhaps sealed in or too afraid to come out to face the humans. Winged monsters would probably find a nice home in the sheer cliffs unless the guard does something to dissuade them.

In any case, the ideas for Slateholm sound interesting. I'll have to get the book to read up on it.
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:45 pm

bhyeti wrote:Have you considered the age of the city and current population size?
Slateholm has been an occupied site for a long time, but has not been a true city for nearly so long. The original human settlement was a trading post where various of the local barbarian tribes met with eastern traders, but when those traders first arrived the site was a ruin from some more ancient, possibly non-human race. The southern territory was inhabited primarily by orcs and hobgoblins in those days, with humans living in fortified villages scattered here and there.

The northern continent, on the other hand, was inhabited principally by humans. The feuding barbarian clans in that territory began to join together, largely through a long and complex series of strategic marriages, and eventually a King arose to lead them. Traders (or raiders, depending on the situation) set out from the north to various countries, and a fairly large number of them visited Slateholm. Some settled there, and after a time the northerners discovered they were the majority in the village. Their leader swore fealty to the Great King in the North, and in turn he made the village leader a Count.

The city grew and became prosperous as the humans in the surrounding area began driving back the humanoids. After many years the Great King (grandson of the one who ennobled the leader of the city) visited in person, and was astonished at what he found. He was so impressed that he made the Count into a Duke.

Then came the Urds. The eastern traders who had long visited the city were now Urdish subjects, so it was only natural that other citizens of the Empire might wish to visit and even settle. And the Urds had a ceaseless need for slaves.

Imperial slave traders set up markets in both Slateholm and a small village named Ravenstone in the north, and business was brisk. The northerners had always had slaves, and so it seemed reasonable enough to them to exchange them for Urdish gold. But there was a difference in the place of a slave in the northern lands versus a slave's position in the Empire. Northern slaves were still people; though not free, they had some rights, and each had a reasonable hope of someday becoming free.

To the Urds, a slave was little more than an animal, and scant few if any of them ever became legitimately free. Their physical features and accents marked them, such that even one who escaped his master could not expect to pass as a free subject of the Empire.

When it became known that this was the fate into which the northerners were selling their own countrymen, there was much discontent. But the Great King had become accustomed to the wealth paid to him by the men of the Empire, and when his own subjects showed signs of revolting, he asked the Emperor to send troops to protect him. The Emperor was only too happy to assist.

Thus the Great King became a figurehead, and the northerners found themselves a part of the Empire quite against their will.

Slateholm, being far away from the rest of the Great King's domain, became the refuge of dissidents and escaped slaves. Soon the Duke renounced his oaths to the Great King, and outlawed slavery within the city. The Empire responded by blockading and besieging the city for a time.

This blockade was ended when the northern territory exploded into full revolt. The Great King found himself besieged, and the Emperor's forces were needed in the northlands, so the battle against Slateholm was abandoned.

By the time the war in the north had ended, there was no longer a Great King nor any kingdom for him to rule over. Of the many coastal villages, the only one left unsacked was Ravenstone, which was now the Imperial capitol in the region.

The Emperor chose to ignore Slateholm from that point on, right up to the fall of the Empire in the East. That was about a century ago, or perhaps a bit more.
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:59 pm

orobouros wrote:A system of tunnels and caves and such under the city would probably be used at least partially as a sewage system. I'd expect that some enterprising merchant with capital would have hired the right Dwarfs to reconfigure the first few hundreds of feet of the tunnels into a wastewater disposal system. What's beyond the flimsy wooden planks they used to seal off the unknown might be a good hook for an adventure.
Indeed. Tell me more...
orobouros wrote:Likewise, even with the relatively independent nature of the city, there's probably a market for either modestly illegal or distasteful activities and wares. Any kind of tunnels beneath the Merchant's area would probably have their share of smugglers' operations going on.
Oh, Slateholm is quite corrupt, though perhaps not as decadent as the Imperial capitol. It is not merely a free city, it is a free port... pirates can and do visit regularly. Piracy in the vicinity of the city is dealt with harshly, though.

But smugglers won't be found in the tunnels below the Merchant's Quarter; much more likely sneaking up those drainage tunnels in the Poor Quarter, having rowed a small boat through the rocks in the darkest hours of the night. The Merchant's Quarter is more occupied by the homes and presentable shops of the merchants, not their warehouses or workshops.
orobouros wrote:Depending on how much room is there, you could put some variant of monsters in such catacombs, perhaps sealed in or too afraid to come out to face the humans. Winged monsters would probably find a nice home in the sheer cliffs unless the guard does something to dissuade them.
Bluffs, not cliffs. The highest bluffs of Slateholm are not really all that high, and winged monsters wouldn't be tolerated by the city watch nor the Duke's guard.

Unless they are sneaky, of course.

Now, various vermin are another matter entirely. Even smaller giant insects might be found climbing around on the less accessible parts of the bluffs.

I said that smugglers wouldn't be found under the Merchant's Quarter, but that doesn't mean the drainage tunnels there wouldn't be used as access points for other kinds of sneaky business. Slateholm hasn't faced a serious military threat from the sea since the fall of the Empire, so the gates and such that should be protecting those areas are mostly absent or broken.

... finding one in good shape, now, THAT might suggest something fishy is going on.
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orobouros
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:25 pm

Solomoriah wrote: Indeed. Tell me more...
Historically human waste was just tossed out without much care what happened after. The poor would have to just toss it into the street or alley. The nobles typically had servants take it away and dump it on a part of the grounds where only the servants had to go. I would figure that in a world with highly skilled stoneworking labor somebody would be able to engineer a modest sewage system and sell this to nobles as a way to be more discreet about their private bodily functions.

Of course, this is only made easier if there's already some natural and/or artificial passageways that are unused beneath the city. Reworking parts of it to serve as a sewage system would probably be fairly straightforward. And whoever did the work probably doesn't care too much about what happens to everything flushed down.

So that opens up a number of interesting adventure hooks.

Maybe this is all a recent activity and there's strife over pay and such between the workers (possibly Dwarves), the foremen (merchants) and customers (nobles). Could lead to a setting with politics and lots of NPC interaction.

Maybe the recent work has uncovered some sealed tomb or such. Might be interesting as a setting to have skeletons crawl out of the caves but mostly in the noble part of town, leaving the poor and the dock areas safer by comparison. More than one noble probably has a little hideaway in the poor district for their clandestine purposes, anyway.

Another idea: with so much "fertilizer" draining into parts unknown, and some clearly nasty magic users around, who knows what might start growing in the deep dark parts. As a spin, maybe the magic user isn't so bad and realizes he's accidentally set his creation loose in the caves below. Overall, plant-based monsters probably make for a good, theme-appropriate random encounter group.

Maybe the previous civilization never really left what's now Slateholm but just moved underground. A giant island in an even bigger underground lake might make for an interesting discovery. Thinking about how the tunnels could all have portals to some other plane of existence might make for some really interesting maps. Or maybe it's just a sect of the Church of Tah that's down there, plotting.
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:41 pm

Is there a god of death for assassins, necromancers, evil clerics, etc?

Never mind I found it in the descriptive part of Morgansfort.
Last edited by bhyeti on Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:22 pm

If you've read Morgansfort, you're familiar with the Hundred, the many gods of the many pantheons of the pagans in the Western Lands. So in answer to any question of "is there a god of X" the answer is almost always yes.

Does this god have a big following? Maybe, maybe not.
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:42 pm

Shaitah? or could be the "Nameless One"
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bhyeti
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:50 am

bhyeti wrote:Is there a god of death for assassins, necromancers, evil clerics, etc?

Shaitah? or could be the "Nameless One"
I'm thinking something similar to the Thuggee cult, a break away group of the Urdish Empire. Evidently they were too evil even for the Urds.

Kind of like a reappearing antagonists, a religion of death with clerics, mages, anti-paladins and assassins moving behind the scenes to spread their faith.

And not afraid to use any means to achieve it. But subtlety.

(Or Glen Cook's the Black Company)
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Re: Slateholm Nights

Post Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:20 am

Such a group would not be welcome in Slateholm, and would thus have to work underground, possibly literally.

On the other hand, Ravenstone might be more welcoming. Tahists of all stripes are not particularly welcome there though.
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